Threadcount blouse

Hello everyone!

I’ve been on a great run of therapeutic sewing lately! Getting my head down, pushing out the world and focusing on the task at hand. I had a super productive Christmas break and made a whopping four garments in three days. Three dresses and a blouse. I sewed them all at the same time if that makes sense. Like my own production line. Getting my head down and drowning out the world by sewing is a real stress-buster for me. It’s like I tap into the part of me that’s a freaky zen robot eagle and just focus on executing each step neatly and efficiently.

Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

This pattern came free with Sew Now magazine. Love Sewing’s little sister. There are a few mix and match variations but I chose the button placket with the short sleeves and I opted the length of view B without the dip hem (I just levelled everything off). Happily I lay my block on top of the pattern pieces and they matched the size 8 I only had to move the bust a smidgen and grade out the side seams to a size 14 from the waist to hip.

Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

I laugh when I look at this fabric because I would never had bought it normally. The team at Remnant Kings talked me into it after I attended an event at the Glasgow store. It feels lovely (like a looser than normal lawn weave but not like gauze or anything) and the print is sweet… it’s just that shade of blue that I would have sworn doesn’t suit me. Maybe it doesn’t but who cares. Find it here.

Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

The pearl buttons are pure plastic so I’m waiting for the washing machine to scuff them up. Amazingly after a day of wearing the top there aren’t many creases! Magic. I only wish I had enough fabric for the longer sleeves.

Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

I French seamed the whole garment including the armholes and I used the burrito method for the yoke – pic below of rolled up front sandwiched between the inner and outer yoke ready to sew over the shoulder seam.

Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

My trusty topstitching foot made easy work of the placket. I had a bit of trouble with the buttonholes because my fabric was a bit damp still after pressing. Once I let everything dry properly and finished unpicking for the third time I was able to stop worrying about them. But then like an idiot I sewed the buttons on in slightly the wrong place so the placket doesn’t sit neatly closed!! Gah!

Obligatory back shot time…

Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

Nice little pleats right?

I’m so happy with this make I already started another, but this time I hacked the front to have a full placket. I added hot pink stitching so need to get hot pink buttons now right? Next job on my list.

Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

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Little red dress

Happy New Year gorgeous people!!

Hope you’re all surviving the first week of the year if you’re working and soaking up the extra drops of relaxation if you’re not.

I wanted to quickly share my festive dress. This is Butterick 5748 which I made earlier this year with the included circle skirt. This time I wanted to try adding a gathered skirt to make it a little less fabric hungry. So I of course the gathered Emery dress skirt – I’m addicted to it. Now I have two versions I love!

The fabric is a gorgeous red sateen partially from Remnant Kings and partially from B&M fabrics in Leeds market. ​I LOVE the colour. Red makes me so happy and confident. When I was a little girl I wore red shoes almost every day. And now I’m an adult they’re still in high rotation. I just bought these red satin converse hahah! Plus I have a LOT of red handmade dresses.

This was a great chance to perfect my lapped zipper technique. I follow the approach in the Reader’s Digest Sewing Book which is pure gold. Here are my top tips.

  • Use a slightly larger seam allowance on the zip opening say by 3-5mm.
  • Follow the woven guide lines on your zipper tape or mark a clear guide to follow.
  • Clip away the bulk from the seam allowance at the waist, on either side of the zipper tape to have the zip sit as flat as possible.
  • If using thicker fabric, I recommend leaving the lining hanging down before securing with a stitch in the ditch like I have here. It again reduces bulk at the waist.
  • Fold back the lining seam allowance before finishing the neckline seam to get a neat finish on the inside at top of the zipper.

Hopefully this wasn’t too long for a quick post! Back soon with a blouse I managed to take pics of this weekend.

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Perks of the job – The Annabelle Dress

I don’t often post about work on here but this time I couldn’t NOT.

almond rock simple sew annabelle crepe dress

Meet Annabelle, the free pattern gift that comes with the latest issue of Love Sewing magazine. Named after a dear friend’s new baby girl. A perk of the job is when we bandy names around for patterns and you can throw in personal favourites.

almond rock simple sew annabelle crepe dress

This dress is soooo awesome. There’s a great neckline yoke that connects to raglan sleeves and a gathered bodice. The gathered skirt balances it off perfectly and a side seam zip keeps everything neat. Look at me doing my envelope impression.

almond rock simple sew annabelle crepe dress

Simple Sew sizing is generally a funny fit for me, mostly around the bust. Here I cut a size 10 but graded out to a size 12 waist. I used the size 8 gather marks and I removed 1.5cm of bodice length. It fits almost perfectly though I think I will add 0.5cm of length back in and should have gone up a smidgen more at the waist.

almond rock simple sew annabelle crepe dress

My fabric is a fantastic quality moss crepe from textile centre’s ebay shop. I love how the print is a bit like guitar plectrums. I think that it was £3.99 a metre or something like that?

almond rock simple sew annabelle crepe dress

The range of colours in the print really helps when picking shoes and cardigans hahah (my standard train of thought). I hoarded this fabric for 2 years for an BHL Anna dress but I’m so pleased I used it here. Here’s a flat snap with the flash on and colours adjusted to see the style lines a little more clearly!

I have another version planned for my Les Fleurs periwinkle rayon from Cotton + Steel (picked up at Miss Matatabi). Plus this graphic silk print from M. Rosenberg & Son at the Knitting and Stitching show that I’ve also been hoarding since seeing Karen in a similar-ish print at the Minerva blogger day and daydreaming about owning a dress of similar awesomeness. Ok ok it’s not similar at all but when I bought it away from any phone signal to quickly check, it gave me good vibes so I had to buy it. Gosh that meetup was a while ago – 2014!

almond rock simple sew annabelle crepe dress

almond rock simple sew annabelle dress

Oh and here’s me when I went to interview the costume team behind Strictly Come Dancing. Best day ever let me tell you. Well I do tell you, in the same issue as Annabelle you get to hear me waffle on for four pages about the design process, construction methods, fitting techniques, backstage goss.

strictly interview love sewing mag almond rock

There are some ace versions of Annabelle popping up on the internet (Elle of Sew Positivity was quick off the mark making TWO versions – sateen and Christmas themed) so I hope you’ll give this dress a try.

almond rock 70s dress refashion

I’ll leave you with one last pic of me just to make sure you’re well and truly sick of my face hehe. This is a quick snap from the night of the office party. Denise is my Head Art Editor for Love Sewing and we got ready together while having a cheeky glass of prosecco or three. I wore my vintage 70s long sleeved maxi dress refashion with huge Kurt Geiger platforms (huge for me). It’s the dress I got in 2005 to wear to my University Grad Ball. I removed the sleeves and added the gathered midi skirt for the James Milner charity ball in 2013. I can honestly say every time I wear it I have a right good knees up!

Tag me in your Christmas dress pictures I want to see them all!! And if you’re making Annabelle I want to see those two so hook me up with links.

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Easy pleated skirt

Hello everyone and Happy Friday! Tonight is my work Christmas party so I’m all giddy and ready to celebrate the year!

almond rock pleated skirt elephant in my handbag alice wonderland teapots

Today I have a tutorial to share for a quick pleated skirt. All it takes is a bit of maths and some basic sewing skills to get a lovely printed skirt.

I partnered with Elephant In My Handbag for this tutorial. They let me pick this awesome Alice in Wonderland inspired teapot print cotton by Blend Fabrics.its great quality and the colours are fantastic! Did you spot the little mouse?

Materials:

Fusible interfacing
12” invisible Zipper

Size Finished Waist Measurement Front width, cut on fold Back width, cut two Waistband width Waistband back width
10 29” 51cm 52.5cm 20cm 21.5cm
12 31” 52cm 53.5cm 21cm 22.5cm
14 33” 53cm 54.5cm 22cm 23.5cm
16 35” 54cm 55.5cm 23cm 24.5cm
18 37” 55cm 56.5cm 24cm 25.5cm


Cutting:

Use the above chart and your desired skirt length to work out your fabric requirements. You’ll need 2 x  the length plus another 50cm for the waistbands.

Cut 1 front skirt on the fold that is your chosen length x the width measurement in the chart above.

Cut 2 back skirts that are your chosen length x the width measurement in the chart above.

Cut two waistband fronts on the fold, which are 6cm in length x the width measurement in the chart above.

Cut 2 waistband backs which are 6cm in length x the width measurement in the chart above.

How to make:

1. Find the centre front of your fabric for the skirt front. Then measure 6cm in and make a mark at the upper edge for size 10. (Increase this by 1cm for each higher size e.g. 12cm for size 18).

2. Next mark 15cm away from the mark you just made, along the upper edge.

3. Next mark 6cm away from that mark for size 10. (Increase this by 1cm for each higher size e.g. 12cm for size 18).

4. And finally mark 15cm away from the mark you just made.

5. Repeat for the skirt backs (find the centre back of your fabric by folding under the 1.5cm seam allowance.

6. Fold the pleats together following the marks that you have made. (See the diagram for help). An easy way create neat pleats is to bring two notches together and pin, crease the fold, then open out the pleat so the crease of the fold sits on top of the pin. Sew across the top of your pleats 1cm in from the raw edge (within the seam allowance) to keep them in place and press a short way down the length of the pleat. Repeat for the back skirt pieces.

7. Join the skirt front and back at the side seams with a 5/8” (1.5cm) seam allowance and overlock or finish the raw edges.

8. Interface one waistband front and a pair of waistband backs. Join at the side seams with a 5/8” (1.5cm) seam allowance, then repeat for the second set of waistbands.

9. With right sides together, align the non-interfaced waistband to the upper edge of the skirt, matching the side seams. Sew in place with a 5/8” (1.5cm) seam allowance.

10. Next sew the two waistbands together at the raw upper edge with a 5/8” (1.5cm) seam allowance then press the seam open. Press up the lower edge of the interfaced waistband by 1.3cm.

11. Open the zipper and with right sides together align the top stopper just below the top of the waistband seam line on one side. Using your zipper foot (or my recommendation, an invisible zipper foot) sew in place. Close the zip and mark on the tape the seamline for the bottom of the waistband. Use this marking to line up the second half of the zipper tape and sew in place.

12. Fold the waistband over right sides together, sandwiching the zip in between. Using your zipper foot, sew alongside the zip through the three layers, ensuring the catch the folded up lower edge of the waistband.

13. Press up a 5cm hem at the bottom of your skirt. Sew in place and press to finish.

Here’s a shot of the pleats close up. I love how neat the waistband is at this size and balances well with my almost midi length skirt. I made the 10 and used a long length on purpose.

So many delicious looking cakes on this fabric too!

almond rock pleated skirt elephant in my handbag alice wonderland teapots

Here’s the back, you can see how the centre back falls evenly between the pleats. I used a white zip but if you’re scared you might not achieve a fully invisible installation, choose a zip that coordinates well with your fabric and will “sink in”.

almond rock pleated skirt elephant in my handbag alice wonderland teapots

Expect to see me in plenty more pleated skirts this winter!

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Vintage French Joan-ish

Hello hello! Is everyone surviving the week? Are you taking part in Amanda’s awesome #bpsewvember on Instagram?  Go on and tag yourself on my IG feed if we’re not a already friends as I’d love to see all your snaps.

I have a fun dress to share today as it’s a Sew Over It pattern love child! I merged the Joan Dress and the Vintage Shirtdress with excellent results.

almond rock sew over it joan shirt dress

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

So in case it’s not obvious, this is the Joan bodice and sleeves without the collar. The team kindly sent me Joan when it was first released as they knew it was right up my alley. I did a really rough toile as I know SOI sizing is consistent across the patterns but in reality I should have possibly done a tiny sba. The sleeve caps are a tiny bit off as well but these are micro points when I skipped all my normal fitting steps.

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

In case you’re not sick of them, see my shirt dress versions here. The skirt was made by cutting the front on the fold following the centre front line. Then the back was cut in two with 1.5cm centre back seam allowance added. The side seams, darts and skirt pleats lined up almost perfectly! I just basted them together by hand so they wouldn’t slip during sewing.

And how lush is this fabric? It’s Atelier Brunette modal which is sort of like a viscose in that it’s also a cellulose fabric but is produced in slightly different conditions. It’s thicker than normal viscose but not twill like. It’s slightly spongy and as easily creased it gets, it irons smooth with ease. This print is called Facet and I bought it last March during a sale at M is for Make. Look out for the Black Friday sale everyone!! Ps. I love love love my new Clarks shoes. The’re called Hotel Vibe. Yummy.

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

The bodice is lined with navy polyester from my stash and I used a concealed zip. Life is short and when you have a concealed zipper foot they’re the speediest option.

I wanted to repeat my love for this great blog post on clean lining a sleeved bodice. The technique is amazing… but I really want to make an easier to follow version as it’s really hard to see in these step by step images. To be really clear, this technique creates a clean finish on the inside of your lined bodice around the armholes. All you see is the sleeve seam allowance! Here’s a little vid to show the finish – please ignore the telly playing in the background. Although if you can name the show I’ll be mega impressed.

Fully lined sleeved bodice. This technique is pure magic 💙

A video posted by Amy (@almondrock_sews) on

So I guess all that’s left to do is force you to look at a terrible dark night time picture of me in the dress heading out for dinner and that’s blatantly because I curled my hair and got dolled up and want to use the picture as many times as possible haha. I’m still on the hunt for a hairdresser who will perm my hair in big rolls like this. The specialist I went to blew me off and told me no one would give me the hair style I’m after. But since then the hair and make up team at work have told me that answer is horse poo and I should try someone else for a second opinion. Fingers crossed on that note. Also it’s scary seeing how going swimming once since the below photo was taken has drained all the hair dye out of my hair. Doh. I’m off to work on my Colette Anise jacket! Bye for now

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

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